USA TODAY Sports

Scoot: Sex and the Super Bowl

Scoot
January 31, 2019 - 10:16 am

It is the dark, seedy side of the biggest sporting events that is never adequately addressed - rich, older men seeking to have sex with underage girls.  Sex trafficking was part of the activities associated with the Super Bowl all of the times New Orleans has hosted the championship game, and now that atrocious pre-game activity moves to Atlanta.

The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry, but so is sex trafficking.  Sex trafficking follows the money; and the annual gathering for the Super Bowl temporarily becomes the epicenter for the rich and that is the fertile territory for the selling of young girls - and boys - to rich men.

Over a 4-day period, law enforcement in Atlanta arrested 33 people on suspicion of sex trafficking and rescued 4 victims.  The average age of a young girl in the sex traffic trade is estimated to be 14, and the average young person is sold to have sex 5 times a day.

As shocking as the statistics are and as appalled as America claims to be at the prominence of sex trafficking, the multi-billion industry thrives during Super Bowl weekend.  We hear a lot about targeting the men and women who lure young teenagers into the sex traffic trade and sell them to men for sex, but there is another crucial area that surprisingly does not get the attention it deserves - the men who pay to have sex with young teens.

Sex trafficking is not exclusive to the opulent setting of Super Bowls and big sporting events - sex trafficking has seeped into any area where men are willing to pay for sex with a teenager, including America’s truck stops.  But the biggest players in the sex trade bring their business to Super Bowl cites and places where rich, traveling men are concentrated.

Why isn’t more attention paid to the men, many of them rich, powerful and influential, who pay to engage in sex with teenagers?  Let the focus on the sex traders and the efforts to rescue the victims continue, but isn’t it time to target the men who create the market for sex traffickers?  Without these men there would be no sex trafficking trade and no young victims. 

There are countless reasons why a young girl - or boy - becomes easy prey to sex traffickers, and many of the reasons lead to empathy for the victims.  The sex traffickers are motivated by the temptation of huge amounts of money.  But it is the men who pay to have sex with teenagers that seem to escape the wrath of society and the law.

Unlike the sex traders, who are seen as horrific sub-human criminals, the men who pay for sex with teens appear to be more respectable; and, in many cases, can be men who are admired and are the pillars of business and society.  It is a human flaw to be quick to judge those who do not look like us, while ignoring the real threats that come from those with whom we seem to have more in common.

Sex trafficking takes place in public - not the actually sex - but the delivery of inappropriately dressed young girls to the hotel rooms and suites of men.  There are times when a young girl and her sex trader appear in the open as the trader delivers a human sex object to a man willing to pay.  They are on our streets, in the halls and lobbies of hotels, flying on planes and we watch and just think that’s an older man with a young girl.  We may think that is disgusting, but do we consider that their relationship is even more sinister than we imagine? 

A specific solution should come from lawmakers, law enforcement and the judicial system; but unless, we, the people, pressure those in power to focus equally on the men who create the lucrative sex traffic market, the demented men and women who gain financially from selling teenagers to men for sex will continue to thrive.

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